The outbreak of COVID-19 has undoubtedly heightened the pressure placed on companies to continue business as usual, while remaining vigilant of the outgoing news updates and keeping the safety of employees and customers a top priority. One of the most frustrating, challenging and occasionally near-impossible feats has been social distancing. Chipotle Mexican Grill, however, has found a way to work around the disadvantages by launching its “Chipotle Together” initiative, inviting fans to join in virtual hangouts via the videoconference app Zoom, where they can to chat with celebrities. Select participants joining in the chats also recieved coupon codes for free burritos. If all of America is being advised to stay home unless absolutely necessary, Chipotle is providing a way for customers to hang out with each other while still keeping a safe distance. 

Here’s how it worked. For a week, beginning March 16, Chipotle invited 3,000 fans each day to participate in a Zoom hangout. The first celebrity guest was Colton Underwood of ABC’s The Bachelor. (Perhaps his selection had something to do with Underwood disclosing to US Magazine that after traveling overseas for Bachelor in Paradise, his first meal upon returning to the states was from Chipotle.) The company shared a link for fans to access the virtual hangout via Twitter (@ChipotleTweets), allowing fans to stay tuned for live updates. In addition to the Zoom hangouts, Chipotle also offered free deliveries on orders of $10 or more throughout the month of March for orders placed using the Chipotle app or through the company website. 

But as an added perk to those fans who weren’t able to participate in the Zoom hangouts, Chipotle also made changes to its delivery process. The company created Delivery Kitchens, which are ingredient stations managed by employees to specifically serve digital orders, along with tamper-evident packaging seals and a new delivery tracking app to provide updates in real time. 


Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.